Neuropharmacology - Neurodevelopmental Disorders

jeudi 2 mai 2013

La revue Neuropharmacology consacre son numéro du mois de mai 2013 aux traitements des troubles du neurodéveloppement.

1. Cobb SR, Davies CH. Neurodevelopmental disorders. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):1.

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2. Millan MJ. An epigenetic framework for neurodevelopmental disorders : From pathogenesis to potential therapy. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):2-82.

Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are characterized by aberrant and delayed early-life development of the brain, leading to deficits in language, cognition, motor behaviour and other functional domains, often accompanied by somatic symptoms. Environmental factors like perinatal infection, malnutrition and trauma can increase the risk of the heterogeneous, multifactorial and polygenic disorders, autism and schizophrenia. Conversely, discrete genetic anomalies are involved in Down, Rett and Fragile X syndromes, tuberous sclerosis and neurofibromatosis, the less familiar Phelan–McDermid, Sotos, Kleefstra, Coffin–Lowry and “ATRX” syndromes, and the disorders of imprinting, Angelman and Prader–Willi syndromes. NDDs have been termed “synaptopathies” in reference to structural and functional disturbance of synaptic plasticity, several involve abnormal Ras-Kinase signalling (“rasopathies”), and many are characterized by disrupted cerebral connectivity and an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory transmission. However, at a different level of integration, NDDs are accompanied by aberrant “epigenetic” regulation of processes critical for normal and orderly development of the brain. Epigenetics refers to potentially-heritable (by mitosis and/or meiosis) mechanisms controlling gene expression without changes in DNA sequence. In certain NDDs, prototypical epigenetic processes of DNA methylation and covalent histone marking are impacted. Conversely, others involve anomalies in chromatin-modelling, mRNA splicing/editing, mRNA translation, ribosome biogenesis and/or the regulatory actions of small nucleolar RNAs and micro-RNAs. Since epigenetic mechanisms are modifiable, this raises the hope of novel therapy, though questions remain concerning efficacy and safety. The above issues are critically surveyed in this review, which advocates a broad-based epigenetic framework for understanding and ultimately treating a diverse assemblage of NDDs (“epigenopathies”) lying at the interface of genetic, developmental and environmental processes. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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3. Wijetunge LS, Chattarji S, Wyllie DJA, Kind PC. Fragile X syndrome : From targets to treatments. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):83-96.

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is one of the most prevalent and well-studied monogenetic causes of intellectual disability and autism and, although rare, its high penetrance makes it a desirable model for the study of neurodevelopmental disorders more generally. Indeed recent studies suggest that there is functional convergence of a number of genes that are implicated in intellectual disability and autism indicating that an understanding of the cellular and biochemical dysfunction that occurs in monogenic forms of these disorders are likely to reveal common targets for therapeutic intervention. Fundamental research into FXS has provided a wealth of information about how the loss of function of the fragile X mental retardation protein results in biochemical, anatomical and physiological dysfunction leading to the discovery of interventions that correct many of the core pathological phenotypes associated with animal models of FXS. Most promisingly such strategies have led to development of drugs that are now in clinical trials. This review highlights how progress in understanding disorders such as FXS has led to a new era in which targeted molecular treatment towards neurodevelopmental disorders is becoming a reality. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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4. Ehninger D. From genes to cognition in tuberous sclerosis : Implications for mTOR inhibitor-based treatment approaches. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):97-105.

Tuberous sclerosis (TSC) is a neurocutaneous disorder with an autosomal-dominant pattern of inheritance and is caused by heterozygous mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 gene. Neuropsychiatric conditions, including intellectual disability, autism and epilepsy, are highly prevalent in TSC populations. Here, I review recent findings that shed light on some of the neurobiological mechanisms that may contribute to the pathogenesis of TSC-associated neuropsychiatric impairments. Emerging intervention studies in animal models show striking effects of mTORC1 inhibitors on TSC-related CNS manifestations. Translational studies that assess the effects of mTORC1 inhibitors on neuropsychiatric phenotypes in human TSC individuals are underway. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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5. Ricceri L, De Filippis B, Laviola G. Rett syndrome treatment in mouse models : Searching for effective targets and strategies. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):106-115.

Rett syndrome (RTT) is a pervasive developmental disorder, primarily affecting girls with a prevalence of 1 in every 10,000 births ; it represents the second most common cause of intellectual disability in females. Mutations in the gene encoding methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) have been identified as clear etiological factors in more than 90% of classical RTT cases. Whereas the mechanisms leading to the severe, progressive and specific neurological dysfunctions when this gene is mutated still remain to be elucidated, a series of different mouse models have been generated, bearing different Mecp2 mutation. Neurobehavioural analysis in these mouse lines have been carried out and phenotyping analysis can be now utilised to preclinically evaluate the effects of potential RTT treatments. This review summarizes the different results achieved in this research field taking into account different key targets identified to ameliorate RTT phenotype in mouse models, including those not directly downstream of MeCP2 and those limited to the early phases of postnatal development. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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6. Masino SA, Kawamura Jr M, Cote JL, Williams RB, Ruskin DN. Adenosine and autism : A spectrum of opportunities. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):116-121.

In rodents, insufficient adenosine produces behavioral and physiological symptoms consistent with several comorbidities of autism. In rodents and humans, stimuli postulated to increase adenosine can ameliorate these comorbidities. Because adenosine is a broad homeostatic regulator of cell function and nervous system activity, increasing adenosine’s influence might be a new therapeutic target for autism with multiple beneficial effects. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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7. Folsom TD, Fatemi SH. The involvement of Reelin in neurodevelopmental disorders. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):122-135.

Reelin is a glycoprotein that serves important roles both during development (regulation of neuronal migration and brain lamination) and in adulthood (maintenance of synaptic function). A number of neuropsychiatric disorders including autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, Alzheimer’s disease and lissencephaly share a common feature of abnormal Reelin expression in the brain. Altered Reelin expression has been hypothesized to impair neuronal connectivity and synaptic plasticity, leading ultimately to the cognitive deficits present in these disorders. The mechanisms for abnormal Reelin expression in some of these disorders are currently unknown although possible explanations include early developmental insults, mutations, hypermethylation of the promoter for the Reelin gene (RELN), miRNA silencing of Reelin mRNA, FMRP underexpression and Reelin processing abnormalities. Increasing Reelin expression through pharmacological therapies may help ameliorate symptoms resulting from Reelin deficits. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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8. Gray SJ. Gene therapy and neurodevelopmental disorders. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):136-142.

With a number of recent clinical successes, gene therapy is quickly becoming a realistic treatment option for neurological disorders. Advancements in global central nervous system (CNS) gene delivery, in particular, have accelerated to the point that treatments for neurological disorders such as lysosomal storage diseases seem within reach. Other neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Rett Syndrome, Fragile X, and autism still face significant obstacles to overcome before a viable human gene therapy can be considered. This review focuses on the most common CNS gene delivery vehicle, adeno-associated virus (AAV), and the current state of AAV vector design and delivery for CNS gene therapy. Relevant examples of gene therapy studies for neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as outstanding challenges, are discussed. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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9. Roessner V, Schoenefeld K, Buse J, Bender S, Ehrlich S, Münchau A. Pharmacological treatment of tic disorders and Tourette Syndrome. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):143-149.

The present review gives an overview of current pharmacological treatment options of tic disorders and Tourette Syndrome (TS). After a short summary on phenomenology, clinical course and comorbid conditions we review indications for pharmacological treatment in detail. Unfortunately, standardized and large enough drug trials in TS patients fulfilling evidence based medicine standards are still scarce. Treatment decisions are often guided by individual needs and personal experience of treating clinicians. The present recommendations for pharmacological tic treatment are therefore based on both scientific evidence and expert opinion. As first-line treatment of tics risperidone (best evidence level for atypical antipsychotics) or tiapride (largest clinical experience in Europe and low rate of adverse reactions) are recommended. Aripiprazole (still limited but promising data with low risk for adverse reactions) and pimozide (best evidence of the typical antipsychotics) are agents of second choice. In TS patients with comorbid attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) atomoxetine, stimulants or clonidine should be considered, or, if tics are severe, a combination of stimulants and risperidone. When mild to moderate tics are associated with obsessive–compulsive symptoms, depression or anxiety sulpiride monotherapy can be helpful. In more severe cases the combination of risperidone and a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor should be given. In summary, further studies, particularly randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials including larger and/or more homogenous patient groups over longer periods are urgently needed to enhance the scientific basis for drug treatment in tic disorders. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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10. Okray Z, Hassan BA. Genetic approaches in Drosophila for the study neurodevelopmental disorders. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):150-156.

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is one of the premier genetic model organisms used in biomedical research today owing to the extraordinary power of its genetic tool-kit. Made famous by numerous seminal discoveries of basic developmental mechanisms and behavioral genetics, the power of fruit fly genetics is becoming increasingly applied to questions directly relevant to human health. In this review we discuss how Drosophila research is applied to address major questions in neurodevelopmental disorders. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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11. Schreiner MJ, Lazaro MT, Jalbrzikowski M, Bearden CE. Converging levels of analysis on a genomic hotspot for psychosis : Insights from 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):157-173.

Schizophrenia is a devastating neurodevelopmental disorder that, despite extensive research, still poses a considerable challenge to attempts to unravel its heterogeneity, and the complex biochemical mechanisms by which it arises. While the majority of cases are of unknown etiology, accumulating evidence suggests that rare genetic mutations, such as 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22qDS), can play a significant role in predisposition to the illness. Up to 25% of individuals with 22qDS eventually develop schizophrenia ; conversely, this deletion is estimated to account for 1–2% of schizophrenia cases overall. This locus of Chromosome 22q11.2 contains genes that encode for proteins and enzymes involved in regulating neurotransmission, neuronal development, myelination, microRNA processing, and post-translational protein modifications. As a consequence of the deletion, affected individuals exhibit cognitive dysfunction, structural and functional brain abnormalities, and neurodevelopmental anomalies that parallel many of the phenotypic characteristics of schizophrenia. As an illustration of the value of rare, highly penetrant genetic subtypes for elucidating pathological mechanisms of complex neuropsychiatric disorders, we provide here an overview of the cellular, network, and systems-level anomalies found in 22qDS, and review the intriguing evidence for this disorder’s association with schizophrenia. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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12. De Filippis B, Ricceri L, Fuso A, Laviola G. Neonatal exposure to low dose corticosterone persistently modulates hippocampal mineralocorticoid receptor expression and improves locomotor/exploratory behaviour in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):174-183.

Rett syndrome (RTT) is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder, primarily affecting girls. RTT causes a wide variety of debilitating symptoms and no cure currently exists. Mouse models bearing mutations in the Mecp2 gene recapitulate most physiological and behavioural RTT-related abnormalities. Stimulating neonatal environments (e.g. brief maternal separations or maternal low-dose corticosterone supplementation) reduce stress and fear responses at adulthood. The present study investigated whether impacting early in development the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, by exposing Mecp2-308 mutant pups to a low dose of corticosterone (50 µg/ml, during the 1st week of life) may contrast RTT-related abnormalities in neuroendocrine regulation and behavioural adaptation at adulthood. In line with previous reports, when fully symptomatic, MeCP2-308 mice showed a reduction in the regular nocturnal hyperactivity in the home-cage and increased anxiety-like behaviours and plasma corticosterone (CORT) levels in response to restraint stress. An abnormal elevation in mRNA levels of mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) and BDNF gene was also evident in the hippocampus of fully symptomatic mutant mice. Neonatal CORT modulated MR gene expression and behavioural reactivity towards a novel object, also restoring wt-like levels of locomotor/exploratory behaviour in mutant mice. Enhanced sensitivity to the neonatal treatment (in terms of increase in GR and MR mRNA levels), was also evident in the hippocampus of MeCP2-308 mice compared to wt littermates. Present results corroborate the hypothesis that targeting the glucocorticoid system may prove valid in contrasting at least some of the RTT-related symptoms and provide evidence that pharmacological interventions during critical early time windows can persistently improve the behavioural phenotype of RTT mice. Current data also support the emerging role played by Mecp2 in mediating the epigenetic programming induced by early life events and indicate that, in the absence of functional MeCP2, programming of the central nervous system in response to early environmental stimuli is abnormally regulated. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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13. Matrisciano F, Tueting P, Dalal I, Kadriu B, Grayson DR, Davis JM, Nicoletti F, Guidotti A. Epigenetic modifications of GABAergic interneurons are associated with the schizophrenia-like phenotype induced by prenatal stress in mice. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):184-194.

Human studies suggest that a variety of prenatal stressors are related to high risk for cognitive and behavioral abnormalities associated with psychiatric illness (Markham and Koenig, 2011). Recently, a downregulation in the expression of GABAergic genes (i.e., glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 and reelin) associated with DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) overexpression in GABAergic neurons has been regarded as a characteristic phenotypic component of the neuropathology of psychotic disorders (Guidotti et al., 2011). Here, we characterized mice exposed to prenatal restraint stress (PRS) in order to study neurochemical and behavioral abnormalities related to development of schizophrenia in the adult. Offspring born from non-stressed mothers (control mice) showed high levels of DNMT1 and 3a mRNA expression in the frontal cortex at birth, but these levels progressively decreased at post-natal days (PND) 7, 14, and 60. Offspring born from stressed mothers (PRS mice) showed increased levels of DNMTs compared to controls at all time-points studied including at birth and at PND 60. Using GAD67-GFP transgenic mice, we established that, in both control and PRS mice, high levels of DNMT1 and 3a were preferentially expressed in GABAergic neurons of frontal cortex and hippocampus. Importantly, the overexpression of DNMT in GABAergic neurons was associated with a decrease in reelin and GAD67 expression in PRS mice in early and adult life. PRS mice also showed an increased binding of DNMT1 and MeCP2, and an increase in 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in specific CpG-rich regions of the reelin and GAD67 promoters. Thus, the epigenetic changes in PRS mice are similar to changes observed in the post-mortem brains of psychiatric patients. Behaviorally, adult PRS mice showed hyperactivity and deficits in social interaction, prepulse inhibition, and fear conditioning that were corrected by administration of valproic acid (a histone deacetylase inhibitor) or clozapine (an atypical antipsychotic with DNA-demethylation activity). Taken together, these data show that prenatal stress in mice induces abnormalities in the DNA methylation network and in behaviors indicative of a schizophrenia-like phenotype. Thus, PRS mice may be a valid model for the investigation of new drugs for schizophrenia treatment targeting DNA methylation. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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14. Mendez MA, Horder J, Myers J, Coghlan S, Stokes P, Erritzoe D, Howes O, Lingford-Hughes A, Murphy D, Nutt D. The brain GABA-benzodiazepine receptor alpha-5 subtype in autism spectrum disorder : A pilot [11C]Ro15-4513 positron emission tomography study. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):195-201.

GABA (gamma-amino-butyric-acid) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human brain. It has been proposed that the symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are the result of deficient GABA neurotransmission, possibly including reduced expression of GABAA receptors. However, this hypothesis has not been directly tested in living adults with ASD. In this preliminary investigation, we used Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with the benzodiazepine receptor PET ligand [11C]Ro15-4513 to measure α1 and α5 subtypes of the GABAA receptor levels in the brain of three adult males with well-characterized high-functioning ASD compared with three healthy matched volunteers. We found significantly lower [11C]Ro15-4513 binding throughout the brain of participants with ASD (p < 0.0001) compared with controls. Planned region of interest analyses also revealed significant reductions in two limbic brain regions, namely the amygdala and nucleus accumbens bilaterally. Further analysis suggested that these results were driven by lower levels of the GABAA α5 subtype. These results provide initial evidence of a GABAA α5 deficit in ASD and support further investigations of the GABA system in this disorder. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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15. Enticott PG, Kennedy HA, Rinehart NJ, Tonge BJ, Bradshaw JL, Fitzgerald PB. GABAergic activity in autism spectrum disorders : An investigation of cortical inhibition via transcranial magnetic stimulation. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):202-209.

Mounting evidence suggests a possible role for γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the neuropathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but the extent of this impairment is unclear. A non-invasive, in vivo measure of GABA involves transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the primary motor cortex to probe cortical inhibition. Individuals diagnosed with ASD (high-functioning autism or Asperger’s disorder) (n = 36 [28 male] ; mean age : 26.00 years) and a group of healthy individuals (n = 34 [23 male] ; mean age : 26.21 years) (matched for age, gender, and cognitive function) were administered motor cortical TMS paradigms putatively measuring activity at GABAA and GABAB receptors (i.e., short and long interval paired pulse TMS, cortical silent period). All cortical inhibition paradigms yielded no difference between ASD and control groups. There was, however, evidence for short interval cortical inhibition (SICI) deficits among those ASD participants who had experienced early language delay, suggesting that GABA may be implicated in an ASD subtype. The current findings do not support a broad role for GABA in the neuropathophysiology of ASD, but provide further indication that GABAA could be involved in ASD where there is a delay in language acquisition. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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16. Silverman JL, Babineau BA, Oliver CF, Karras MN, Crawley JN. Influence of stimulant-induced hyperactivity on social approach in the BTBR mouse model of autism. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):210-222.

Translational research is needed to discover pharmacological targets and treatments for the diagnostic behavioral domains of autism spectrum disorders. Animal models with phenotypic relevance to diagnostic criteria offer clear experimental strategies to test the efficacy and safety of novel treatments. Antagonists of mGluR5 receptors are in clinical trials for Fragile X syndrome and under investigation for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. However, in preclinical studies of mGluR5 compounds tested in our laboratory and others, increased locomotion following mGluR5 modulation has been observed. Understanding the influence of general activity on sociability and repetitive behaviors will increase the accuracy of interpretations of positive outcomes measured from pharmacological treatment that produces locomotor activating or sedating effects. In the present studies, dose–response curves for d-amphetamine (AMPH)-induced hyperlocomotion were similar in standard B6 mice and in the BTBR mouse model of autism. AMPH produced significant, robust reductions in the high level of repetitive self-grooming that characterizes BTBR, and also reduced the low baseline grooming in B6, indicating that AMPH-induced hyperlocomotion competes with time spent engaged in self-grooming. We then tested AMPH in B6 and BTBR on the 3-chambered social approach task. One component of sociability, the time spent in the chamber with the novel mouse, in B6 mice was reduced, while the sniffing time component of sociability in BTBR mice was enhanced. This finding replicated across multiple cohorts treated with AMPH and saline vehicle. In-depth analysis revealed that AMPH increased the number and decreased the duration of sniffing bouts in BTBR, suggesting BTBR treated with AMPH mostly engaged in brief sniffs rather than true social interactions with the novel mouse during the social approach task. Our data suggest that compounds with stimulant properties may have some direct benefits on reducing repetitive behaviors in autism spectrum disorders, particularly in the subset of autistic individuals with hyperactivity. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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17. Marco EM, Valero M, de la Serna O, Aisa B, Borcel E, Ramirez MJ, Viveros M-P. Maternal deprivation effects on brain plasticity and recognition memory in adolescent male and female rats. Neuropharmacology ;2013 ;68(0):223-231.

Data from both human and animal studies suggest that exposure to stressful life events at neonatal stages may increase the risk of psychopathology at adulthood. In particular, early maternal deprivation, 24 h at postnatal day (pnd) 9, has been associated with persistent neurobehavioural changes similar to those present in developmental psychopathologies such as depression and schizophrenic-related disorders. Most neuropsychiatric disorders first appear during adolescence, however, the effects of MD on adolescent animals’ brain and behaviour have been scarcely explored. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the emotional and cognitive consequences of MD in adolescent male and female rats, as well as possible underlying neurobiological mechanisms within frontal cortex and hippocampus. Animals were exposed to a battery of behavioural tasks, from pnd 35 to 42, to evaluate cognitive [spontaneous alternation task (SAT) and novel object test (NOT)] and anxiety-related responses [elevated plus maze (EPM)] during adolescence. Changes in neuronal and glial cells, alterations in synaptic plasticity as well as modifications in cannabinoid receptor expression were investigated in a parallel group of control and adolescent (pnd 40) male and female animals. Notably, MD induced a significant impairment in recognition memory exclusively among females. A generalized decrease in NeuN expression was found in MD animals, together with an increase in hippocampal glial fibrillar acidic protein (GFAP) expression exclusively among MD adolescent males. In addition, MD induced in the frontal cortex and hippocampus of male and female adolescent rats a significant reduction in brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and postsynaptic density (PSD95) levels, together with a decrease in synaptophysin in frontal cortex and neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) in hippocampus. MD induced, in animals of both sexes, a significant reduction in CB1R expression, but an increase in CB2R that was statistically significant only for the frontal cortex. Taken together, these results indicate that adolescent females are more vulnerable than males to the cognitive deficits derived from MD despite the changes in neural cells, cannabinoid receptors, as well as the reduction in neural plasticity seem to be similar in both sexes. Further investigation is needed to understand the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the sexual dimorphisms associated to the MD effects, and thus, for a better understanding of the specific sex-dependent vulnerabilities to early life stress. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Neurodevelopmental Disorders’.

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